Make a list of the things you owe to God and see for yourself how richly He will reward your faithfulness.
Alright thank you very much. And hello again dear radio friends, how in the world are you? Are you doing alright? Oh I trust so. My heart goes out to so many of you who I know personally and in some cases you’re having a rough time of it. I want you to know that I pray that God may sustain you and guide you and bring you through. The key word is through, isn’t it? When thou passes through the waters. They shall not overflow thee. God brings you through. Thanks be unto God that always causes us to triumph in Christ and maketh manifest the perfume of His knowledge by us in every place. God wants to make you His perfume under pressure. May that be so for every one of us today.
We’re looking at Mark chapter 12. We have come now through the parable of the vineyard. What we got out of that, aside from the fact that the Lord Jesus was speaking directly to the rulers of God’s people in those days and telling them that the stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner. God has plans for you, God expects results and accountability and human nature resists this sort of thing but Jesus can overcome it, it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. And God has a last word and that word is in the person of His son, the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s what we said to each other the last time we got together, do you remember?
Now, verse 13 of Mark chapter 12. They sent unto him certain of the Pharisees and Herodians to catch him in his words. Small thought here, it’s amazing how differing points of view can get together when they want to oppose the will of God. The Pharisees were intensely nationalistic. They lived with the constant dream of throwing off the yolk of the Roman Empire and reestablishing the nation of Israel as a sovereign nation. The Herodians however were of a different belief. They thought that the best way was a practical pragmatic way of cooperating with Rome in order to prosper. So you had two exactly opposite points of view joining now in the goal of trying somehow to trip up the Lord Jesus Christ and find some basis on which they might condemn Him. All of which says that human nature does, fallen sinful human nature that is, does cooperate in opposing God. Don’t be surprised when people of varying stripes, varying identifying marks get together to oppose God. They do that. They did it in the time of Christ, they’ll do it today. Marvel not, Jesus said, if the world hates you for it hated me before it hated you. So don’t be surprised if people oppose you.
And if they’re not consistent in their point of view, consistency has no place in un-belief. The average liberal thinker talks about tolerance but when you disagree with him, he turns into one of the most intolerant people in the world. You can’t possibly be educating these young people and believe what you say you believe, those were his opening words when he walked in the door. Liberal unbelieving minds are among the most intolerant in the world and people do get together to oppose God. Don’t be surprised by it, it happens that’s the way things are. They did it to the Lord Jesus. Pharisees who are intensely nationalistic, Herodians who are more pragmatic and thought you ought to cooperate with Rome, there they were together. And when they were come, they said now master, we know that thou art true and carest not for any man for thou regardest not the person of men but teachest the way of God in truth. Isn’t that beautiful? They were laying it on with a trowel, weren’t they? Always watch out when somebody is showering you with compliments. Wither they want something or he’s planning something. Ha haha you live awhile, you know that’s so.
So they ask the question, is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar or not? Now the Pharisees were those who opposed the heavy rate of taxation that they were forced to endure. The Herodians were those that agreed and so they represented two opposing points of view in asking this question, shall we give or should we not give? But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said, “Why tempt ye me? Bring me a penny, a denarius, that I may see it. And they brought it and He said unto them, whose is this image and superscription and they said “Caesar’s” and Jesus answering said surrender unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s and they marveled at Him.”
Now aside from the fact that this scripture tells us that you can’t fool the Savior that He knows, aside from the fact that it tells us that unbelieving hearts can get together to oppose God and frequently do and aside from the fact that we see in reading this scripture that there isn’t any percentage in trying to somehow trip up or to ease your way around the truth of God, what do we learn from the passage aside from those obvious things that are right on the surface of it?
Well, I think for one thing our Lord Jesus was saying something that has a tremendous significance in that it touches every part of all of our lives. Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. He never told His people to start a revolution. He never told them to demonstrate against the tax rate. He never told them to try to bring down somehow the tyranny of Rome. He never told them that. As a matter of fact when He stood on trial before Pilot He said my kingdom is not of this world or else would my servants fight. But now my kingdom is not from hence. The kingdom of Heaven is something else again and if you belong to the kingdom of Heaven, it will make you a better citizen of this world’s governments. Now of course some people live in governments that are repressive and that are cruel and the only right you have actually is the right to die for your faith in Christ and to such wonderful people one has to say, well if that’s the only right we have then let’s die triumphantly with the name of Jesus on our lips. But in other countries such as our own, we have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, we have the freedom to be who we are and to believe what we want to believe in this multifaceted culture and it seems to me that believers, the Lord Jesus Christ, those who follow Him, ought to be the best citizens that there are. We ought to be prompt in paying our taxes and honest in the process, we ought to be good neighbors; we ought to be people who vote in the elections, we ought to be people who run for office if we are qualified. Take advantage of the freedoms you do have and be a good citizen. Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.
And the other thing it says to us obviously is that there are some things that belong specifically to God. Your complete dedication, the use of your time and of your money and whatever talents you may have, the direction and the thrust of your life, all of these things belong to God. And He says give God what belongs to Him. Now I believe in tithing, I don’t believe you have to tithe. I don’t think the New Testament teaches that you must tithe. I think the whole Bible teaches that God rewards the tither with blessing. Malachi 3:10 says, “prove me now herewith.” He says “Bring me all the tithes into the storehouse so that there may be meat in mine house and prove me now herewith if I will not open the windows of Heaven to you and pour you out a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it”. Our Lord Jesus put His stamp of approval on tithing when He spoke to those who were so meticulous that they actually tithed, to give a tenth in other words, of the tiniest seeds in the harvest. He said you tithe dill, mint and cumin and you leave undone the weight of your matters of the law. He said these you ought to have done, that is your tithing, and not to leave the other undone”. So He put His stamp of approval on giving God a tenth of your income. But you don’t have to do that. The Bible teaches tithing as a means of blessing and it teaches regular proportionate giving, I Corinthians has that in the 16th chapter. Regular proportionate giving has a way of procedure as a believer. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store as the Lord has prospered him. Not grudgingly nor of necessity but the Lord loveth the cheerful giver. So you don’t have to do it but it’s God’s recommended way, okay?
Now having said that, He says render unto God the things that are God’s. I think I owe God a major portion of my time, I think I owe Him a proportionate share of the funds that He entrusts to me, I think I owe Him all of my hearts love and I owe Him this, whatever I do, I do heartily as for the Lord, not just for people. Colossians 3:23. These are some of the things we owe to God, isn’t it true? So he says render to God the things that belong to God. Have you ever thought then, we’ll leave this point in just a second but I want to ask you, have you ever thought of the things in your life which are God’s which belong to Him. Where you owe Him something. Have you thought about that? Most of us, it must be admitted, go blithely through life, enjoying our faith when we need it and calling on God when we are in a jam but not particularly aware of any real accountability to God day after day after day. We put off the thought of being responsible in those areas.
But I’m going to ask you to do this, beloved, you sit down quietly and say now what is it that God is asking me to do? In what am I accountable to God? Parents, you know you are accountable to God for your children. I shall always remember seeing my father look at me and hearing him say, “my boy, it would be a lot easier for me to say yes to you all the time but I have to disagree with you and I have to discipline you and I have to train you because you see my boy” and then his eyes would fill up and he would say “you see my dear boy, I’m responsible to God for you”. Yes, you don’t forget those things and so parents you are responsible to God for your children; for the spirit that they sense in your home atmosphere. You are responsible to God for your influence on your wife. Do you minister to your wife mister? Or do you just sort of take her for granted and grumble if things aren’t the way they should be? Wife, do you minister to your husband? See, we are responsible for each other under God; we owe it to God to bless each other. We owe it to God to pray for each other. Samuel said God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you. Praying for people was part of what he had to do for God.
So, make a list of the things you owe to God and see for yourself how richly He will reward your faithfulness in rendering to God the things that are God’s. The desire to do things right in God’s sight always pays out in blessing. A one dollar bill returned by a member of my church years ago when I was still in college pastoring a little church, this man returned a one dollar bill that he had mistakenly taken in payment, the two dollar bills stuck together, he returned it. Oh the blessing there was in his life when he told about what God did for him in that connection. It may be a very small thing that God is asking you to do for Him but please obey whatever the faithful indwelling Holy Spirit says to you and render to God the things that are God’s. Good idea? Let’s work on that, shall we?
Dear Father today, may we be found giving Thee what we owe to Thee and doing so gladly. In Jesus name, Amen.
Until I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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